Vegetable Garden Insects

Vegetable Garden
Getting Started on Managing Pests
• Identify the pest
• Can the pest be manually controlled (trapping,
handpicking, squashing, shop vac, etc.)?
• Would physical barriers such as floating row cover or
cardboard collars at the plant base protect the crop?
• Have you applied excessive quantities of readily
available nitrogen that might unduly attract plant
feeding insects?
• Least toxic options are the first choice – even some of
those can harm beneficials
How to Identify from Damage
Chewing mouthparts damage
Piercing / sucking mouthparts damage
Chewing Examples
Blister beetles
Cabbage loopers
Corn earworms
Cut worms
Flea beetles
Grape leaf skeletonizer
Leaf miner grubs
Tomato hornworms
Blister beetles
• Shake off plant and
step on them
• Shop vac
• Carbaryl on beetles
and host plants
Bean, beet, carrot, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, corn, eggplant, melon,
mustard, pea, pepper, potato, radish, spinach, squash, sweet potato,
tomato, turnip
Cabbage Loopers
• Ragged holes in leaves
• Hand pick; Bt
Broccoli, cabbage, turnip, radish
Corn earworms
• Moths active at night; full grown larvae
up to 1 ½” long
• Hatch from eggs laid on fresh corn silks; feed on leaves,
tassels, whorl within ear, and ear
• Developing kernels within ears are eaten; extensive
excrement at ear tip
• Plant early
• Bt; 5% carbaryl dust by hand brush to individual ear
silks starting when new silks first appear and
continuing at 2-3 day intervals until silks stop growing
• Lacewings; pirate bugs; damsel bugs
• Larvae of several species of night-flying moths; ½ to
1-1/2" long; live underground; nocturnal
• Young stems severed at ground level
• Collar buried 1" below ground and 3" above around
• Place boards on ground at night – collect worm in AM
• Bt; carbaryl
• Predators: beetles, birds, parasitic wasps
Asparagus, cabbage, squash, tomato
• Feed on live or dead insects and decaying or live
• Lay out rolls of newspaper in evening & collect
earwigs in morning
• Carbaryl
Not selective
Flea beetles
Manage weeds
Cover plants
Surround (kaolinitic clay)
Eggplant, tomato, potato
Grape Leaf Skeletonizer
Chewed upper and lower leaf, all but veins
Pyrethrum dust
• Row-cover cloth
• Nosema locustae bait
• Poultry
• Carbaryl
Leaf Miner Damage
• Small maggots of tiny flies hatch
from eggs and live in leaves
• Light colored trails in leaves
• Yellow sticky traps
Cantaloupe, lettuce, tomato, pepper, eggplant, bean
Lesser Goldfinch Damage
Sunflower, squash, and rhubarb leaves
Tomato hornworm
Parasitic wasp eggs
• Hand pick
• Lady beetles & lacewings eat eggs
• Bt; carbaryl
• Tilling soil after harvest causes up
to 90% mortality
Tomato, eggplant, pepper, potato
Piercing / Sucking Examples
Beet leaf hoppers
Grape leaf hoppers
Squash bugs
Stink bugs
• Give birth to live aphids
• Population declines with heat
• Honeydew, ants
• Lady beetle, lacewing
• Insecticidal soap; high pressure hose
Cabbage, collard, kale, turnip, mustard, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprout,
Beet Leafhopper
Curly Top Virus
• Manage weeds
• Plant after end of June
• Protect young plants
• Remove infected plants
Tomato, beet, pepper, squash, bean, squash, melon, cucumber, spinach,
False Chinch Bugs
• Tendency to sit in large masses on
soil at base of attacked plants
• Stunting and/or wilting
• Eliminate mustard & other annual
Grape, squash, melon, tomato, corn, potato
Spider mites
• Suck sap from undersides of leaves
• Webbing; speckles on leaves
• Spray w/ water; home remedy;
insecticidal soaps; several predators
Melon, raspberry, eggplant, bean
Squash bugs
• Yellow specks, then wilting,
ultimately black or dried out
• Collect/destroy egg clusters on
underside of leaves; insecticidal
soap, Neem when insects small;
trap adults under board or burlap
Pumpkin , squash, cucumber, melon
• Overwinter under litter on ground
• Edges of leaves curled; discolored or distorted plant
tissue; black specks of excrement around stippled
leaf surfaces
• Home remedy; destroy infected buds and blooms;
Neem; lady beetles
Bean, garlic, onion, pepper, pumpkin, squash, cucumber, melon
Beneficials – Lady Beetle
Adults & larvae feed
on aphids
Beneficials - Lacewings
Adults feed on nectar,
pollen, and honeydew
Larva feed on aphids,
other small insects, eggs,
& mites
Beneficials - Ground beetle
Prey on vegetable and field crop insects
(e.g. army cut worm, cutworms, corn ear
worms, small crickets) at night
Products for Chewing Insects
Stomach poison (must be ingested)
–Bt for caterpillars (bacterium)
–Carbaryl (either ingested or on
contact) (chemical)
Products for Piercing/Sucking Insects
Contact poison (kills by burning, asphyxiation, or
– Insecticidal soap (damages outer membrane;
causes dehydration & starvation)
– Insecticidal oil (suffocates; primarily used on eggs
and immature stages)
– Home Remedy
– Neem oil (poison, repellent, deterrent to feeding)
– Carbaryl (either by ingestion or contact)
Least Toxic –
Protects Beneficials & Pollinators

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